Although the Bundesliga side got the better of their Spanish rivals in the group stage and the semi-finals last season, they head into tie at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu as outsiders to one of the favourites for overall victory in the tournament.
Keen to continue
The arrival of Gareth Bale from Tottenham Hotspur FC in the summer and the appointment of new coach Carlo Ancelotti, a two-time Champions League winner with AC Milan, have revived the Merengues' fortunes and belief, while injuries and the lack of Robert Lewandowski due to suspension have tempered Dortmund's hopes.
That is not to say they will be fighting a lost cause in the Spanish capital, however, and Schmelzer told bundesliga.com in an exclusive interview precisely why he is confident Dortmund can repeat last season's coup. "Everybody wants to play in the biggest Champions League games against the top clubs, and to go as far as possible," said the Germany international.
Keeping it tight for Lewandowski's return
"It's unfortunate that we don't have our full squad as these would be two highlights, but we'll try to get a good result in Madrid and then, with Robert Lewandowski back, we will do all we can in the return leg to reach the semis again." Indeed, the return of the Polish goal machine is regarded as Dortmund's best chance of moving to within one step of a second successive final.
His four goals in the first leg of last year's semi-final put Dortmund with one foot in the Wembley final. "The way Robert played in that game speaks for itself," said Schmelzer, who is convinced the Spaniards will be quaking in their boots at the prospect of facing Lewandowski and Dortmund in front of over 70,000 fans at the Signal Iduna Park next Tuesday.
'Best in the business'
"You could see back then how much respect their central defenders had for Robert, and that's also why I think Real are going to do all they can to win the first leg convincingly so that it won't be a close affair going into the second leg, when Robert's back. I just hope we can prevent that." To do so, they must halt Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema, who have netted 21 of a whopping 29 goals for Real in Europe so far this season.
"They're three of the best in the business, no question," said Schmelzer, who is currently recovering from an adductor injury. "Ronaldo is hungrier for goals than ever before, and he's just one short of [Lionel] Messi's record and bound to be motivated. Benzema has increased his scoring rate too. They are desperate for La Decima [a tenth European crown], but they're not going to get any gifts from us."
Interview by Dietmar Nolte / adaptation by Ben Gladwell